Customer Behaviour

Apple reported a 13% drop in its second quarter revenue on Tuesday as sales of iPhones slipped. The technology giant reported quarterly sales of $50.56bn (£34.39bn) down from $58bn last year – the first fall in sales for the company since 2003.

Apple sold 51.2 million iPhones during the quarter, down from 61.2 million in the same quarter of 2015.

China was a particular weak spot – sales there fell 26%. Results were also hit by the impact of a stronger dollar. Apple shares fell 8% in after hours trading. Its shares have fallen close to 20% over the last twelve months.

Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook said the company performed well “in the face of strong macroeconomic headwinds”.

Slowing sales in established markets hasn’t been too much of a problem for Apple, as China has always been there to prop up its earnings and keep it posting quarter after quarter of record breaking profits.

But with revenues in China taking a hit, the whole company suffers.

The iPhone – the most successful technology product in history – is now officially in decline. The company had warned as much three months ago, but to see the numbers for real will give investors cause for concern.

Some have been calling recent events a sign that we’re coming to the end of a golden age for hardware makers. The smartphone boom is past its extraordinary peak.

Apple, perhaps more than any other company, needs the next blockbuster category to come along. The Apple Watch is bringing in an estimated $1bn each quarter, but that’s not enough. It needs another smash like the iPhone. But there’s no sign of one coming any time soon.

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